full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Garth Sundem: How to defeat a dragon with math

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Once upon a time in the magical and very round Land of Pi, there lived six scinlkbasuwhg musketeers. There nmeas were Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, adotiidn, and Subtraction. But each was known best by his or her mark: the two hnads radey to catch a fly of Parentheses, the small and raised digits of Exponents, the mighty X of Multiplication, slash of Division, plus of Addition, and, well, you can guess the symbol by which little Subtraction was best known. The Land of Pi was not necessarily the most peaceful place, and that's why the numbers of the kingdom needed the musketeers. The Land of Pi had been rueld by the numrebs as anarcho-syndicalist commune, each number with a vote, but, one powerful number from what we'll call the Imperial seante, eergnneeid a war between some robot things and the knights of the kingdom, and then installed himself as smperue Emperor, and then Puff the migac Digit Dragon ate him, and a princess or two, and, well, all the other numbers in the Land of Pi actually. It was kind of a big day. Anyway, the musketeers were called to action to save the Land of Pi from the voracious dragon. They rode towards him on their valiant steeds and aattcekd. First Multiplication, then Parentheses, but that didn't work. The dragon continued entaig people. So Addition tried, but was trhwon aside. Exponents lepaed at the bseat and was quickly squashed. Nothing was working. The musketeers huddled and formulated a plan. They would attack in sequence, but who should go first? They bickered for a while, the dogarn ate a few more princesses, and then they finally agreed. They jumped into the first, smallest parentheses inside the great Puff the Digit Dragon. Parentheses pointed out where to work first and protected Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction while they diced and sleicd. First here, then, move over there, then there. Look out! There's another set! Parentheses pointed and Exponents took the lead. Then, it was mipliutciltaon, Division, Addition, and Subtraction, each in turn, always the same order. P-E-M-D-A-S When they finished that set, they went to another, and another, always working inside the parentheses in PEMDAS order. Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! PEMDAS, there is another spot! Don't forget, there can be parentheses inside paershneets. There's one! And that trciky enpxonet. There we go! Finally, the PEMDAS Musketeers had whittled Puff down to his last fearsome roar. But, having vanquished Puff the Magic Digit Dragon, all the empire's numbers sprang again from this tiny little nmbeur one, and they all leivd hpplaiy ever after. Except for the Emperor Number, which they threw into the mouth of an ancient nesting creature in the desert. The End.

Open Cloze

Once upon a time in the magical and very round Land of Pi, there lived six _____________ musketeers. There _____ were Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, ________, and Subtraction. But each was known best by his or her mark: the two _____ _____ to catch a fly of Parentheses, the small and raised digits of Exponents, the mighty X of Multiplication, slash of Division, plus of Addition, and, well, you can guess the symbol by which little Subtraction was best known. The Land of Pi was not necessarily the most peaceful place, and that's why the numbers of the kingdom needed the musketeers. The Land of Pi had been _____ by the _______ as anarcho-syndicalist commune, each number with a vote, but, one powerful number from what we'll call the Imperial ______, __________ a war between some robot things and the knights of the kingdom, and then installed himself as _______ Emperor, and then Puff the _____ Digit Dragon ate him, and a princess or two, and, well, all the other numbers in the Land of Pi actually. It was kind of a big day. Anyway, the musketeers were called to action to save the Land of Pi from the voracious dragon. They rode towards him on their valiant steeds and ________. First Multiplication, then Parentheses, but that didn't work. The dragon continued ______ people. So Addition tried, but was ______ aside. Exponents ______ at the _____ and was quickly squashed. Nothing was working. The musketeers huddled and formulated a plan. They would attack in sequence, but who should go first? They bickered for a while, the ______ ate a few more princesses, and then they finally agreed. They jumped into the first, smallest parentheses inside the great Puff the Digit Dragon. Parentheses pointed out where to work first and protected Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction while they diced and ______. First here, then, move over there, then there. Look out! There's another set! Parentheses pointed and Exponents took the lead. Then, it was ______________, Division, Addition, and Subtraction, each in turn, always the same order. P-E-M-D-A-S When they finished that set, they went to another, and another, always working inside the parentheses in PEMDAS order. Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! PEMDAS, there is another spot! Don't forget, there can be parentheses inside ___________. There's one! And that ______ ________. There we go! Finally, the PEMDAS Musketeers had whittled Puff down to his last fearsome roar. But, having vanquished Puff the Magic Digit Dragon, all the empire's numbers sprang again from this tiny little ______ one, and they all _____ _______ ever after. Except for the Emperor Number, which they threw into the mouth of an ancient nesting creature in the desert. The End.

Solution

  1. exponent
  2. names
  3. attacked
  4. magic
  5. happily
  6. senate
  7. multiplication
  8. engineered
  9. eating
  10. parentheses
  11. leaped
  12. lived
  13. ready
  14. numbers
  15. beast
  16. dragon
  17. supreme
  18. sliced
  19. thrown
  20. hands
  21. tricky
  22. ruled
  23. addition
  24. swashbuckling
  25. number

Original Text

Once upon a time in the magical and very round Land of Pi, there lived six swashbuckling musketeers. There names were Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction. But each was known best by his or her mark: the two hands ready to catch a fly of Parentheses, the small and raised digits of Exponents, the mighty X of Multiplication, slash of Division, plus of Addition, and, well, you can guess the symbol by which little Subtraction was best known. The Land of Pi was not necessarily the most peaceful place, and that's why the numbers of the kingdom needed the musketeers. The Land of Pi had been ruled by the numbers as anarcho-syndicalist commune, each number with a vote, but, one powerful number from what we'll call the Imperial Senate, engineered a war between some robot things and the knights of the kingdom, and then installed himself as Supreme Emperor, and then Puff the Magic Digit Dragon ate him, and a princess or two, and, well, all the other numbers in the Land of Pi actually. It was kind of a big day. Anyway, the musketeers were called to action to save the Land of Pi from the voracious dragon. They rode towards him on their valiant steeds and attacked. First Multiplication, then Parentheses, but that didn't work. The dragon continued eating people. So Addition tried, but was thrown aside. Exponents leaped at the beast and was quickly squashed. Nothing was working. The musketeers huddled and formulated a plan. They would attack in sequence, but who should go first? They bickered for a while, the dragon ate a few more princesses, and then they finally agreed. They jumped into the first, smallest parentheses inside the great Puff the Digit Dragon. Parentheses pointed out where to work first and protected Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction while they diced and sliced. First here, then, move over there, then there. Look out! There's another set! Parentheses pointed and Exponents took the lead. Then, it was Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction, each in turn, always the same order. P-E-M-D-A-S When they finished that set, they went to another, and another, always working inside the parentheses in PEMDAS order. Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! PEMDAS, there is another spot! Don't forget, there can be parentheses inside parentheses. There's one! And that tricky exponent. There we go! Finally, the PEMDAS Musketeers had whittled Puff down to his last fearsome roar. But, having vanquished Puff the Magic Digit Dragon, all the empire's numbers sprang again from this tiny little number one, and they all lived happily ever after. Except for the Emperor Number, which they threw into the mouth of an ancient nesting creature in the desert. The End.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
magic digit 2
digit dragon 2
dragon ate 2
parentheses pointed 2

Important Words

  1. action
  2. addition
  3. agreed
  4. ancient
  5. ate
  6. attack
  7. attacked
  8. beast
  9. bickered
  10. big
  11. call
  12. called
  13. catch
  14. commune
  15. continued
  16. creature
  17. day
  18. desert
  19. diced
  20. digit
  21. digits
  22. division
  23. dragon
  24. eating
  25. emperor
  26. engineered
  27. exponent
  28. exponents
  29. fearsome
  30. finally
  31. finished
  32. fly
  33. forget
  34. formulated
  35. great
  36. guess
  37. hands
  38. happily
  39. huddled
  40. imperial
  41. installed
  42. jumped
  43. kind
  44. kingdom
  45. knights
  46. land
  47. lead
  48. leaped
  49. lived
  50. magic
  51. magical
  52. mighty
  53. mouth
  54. move
  55. multiplication
  56. musketeers
  57. names
  58. necessarily
  59. needed
  60. nesting
  61. number
  62. numbers
  63. order
  64. parentheses
  65. peaceful
  66. pemdas
  67. people
  68. pi
  69. place
  70. plan
  71. pointed
  72. powerful
  73. princess
  74. princesses
  75. protected
  76. puff
  77. quickly
  78. raised
  79. ready
  80. roar
  81. robot
  82. rode
  83. ruled
  84. save
  85. senate
  86. sequence
  87. set
  88. slash
  89. sliced
  90. small
  91. smallest
  92. sprang
  93. squashed
  94. steeds
  95. subtraction
  96. supreme
  97. swashbuckling
  98. symbol
  99. threw
  100. thrown
  101. time
  102. tiny
  103. tricky
  104. turn
  105. valiant
  106. vanquished
  107. voracious
  108. vote
  109. war
  110. whittled
  111. work
  112. working